Anuj Puri, Chairman – ANAROCK Property Consultants

The applicability of GST in the Indian taxation system was a move aimed towards ‘one nation, one tax’.

Post land abetment, the applicable GST for under-construction properties was 12% while ready-to-move-in flats were kept out of the GST ambit.

Even for under-construction properties, there was a ruling of Input Tax Credit (ITC) pass-over to the buyer to ensure that it becomes a tax neutral proposition.

While calculations and ITC pass-over still remain a challenge after 1.5 years of GST regime, a recent announcement stated that there is no GST applicable only on ready-to-move-in flats wherein sales took place after the issue of completion certificate.

This is likely to add woes to buyers as well as developers.

Impact on Buyers

Until now, all properties that were treated as ready-to-move-in were out of GST ambit, so buyers had significant choices.

As per ANAROCK data, more than 90,000 units out of total unsold inventory of 6.87 lakh units (as of Q3 2018) across the top 7 cities were ready-to-move-in – a massive 14% of the overall unsold stock.

  • New housing supply estimated at 1,93,600 units by 2018 end; an annual increase of 32%
  • Housing sales in 2018 estimated at 2,45,500 units; an annual increase of 16%
  • NBFC crisis holds sector at gunpoint as 2019 begins

Anuj Puri, Chairman – ANAROCK Property Consultants

The year 2018 was a veritable roller-coaster ride for Indian real estate. Despite signs of recovery across segments, the liquidity crunch – further exacerbated by the NBFC crisis – put all industry stakeholders on tenterhooks.

Consolidation via mergers and acquisitions was rife in all sectors, completely redefining the concept of ‘financial health’ among players and drawing clear lines on who will survive the heat. This process will continue throughout 2019, as well.

Despite all odds, economic indicators remained positive with India’s GDP growth rate pegged at 7.3% in 2018. CPI inflation, a major concern in the past, remained reined in at a manageable 4.8%.

GDP growth and contained inflation are generally considered panacea for most real estate woes. However, it took a lot more than that for real estate to retain even a semblance of an even keel in 2018.

Anuj Puri, Chairman – ANAROCK Property Consultants

The recent stand-off between the government and the RBI owing to the NBFC crisis and the apex bank’s endeavour to maintain its autonomy and reserves had caused the industry to watch closely whether the repo rate will increase or remain unchanged.

That said, today’s move by the RBI to keep the repo rate unchanged at 6.5% was more or less expected. This was not solely because inflation targets are still under control.

Politically, an upward revision would not have served the current Government well as the 2019 elections are around the corner.  From the economic standpoint, a hike in repo rates would have had a direct impact on home loan rates.

High housing loan interest rates are known deterrents to many buyers, especially in the affordable segment where higher interest rates can and do weaken sentiment.

Any move to further discourage customers from availing of bank credit would ultimately exacerbate the liquidity crunch and adversely impact the economy.

From that perspective, the unchanged repo rate will at least keep the demand for housing loans at status quo.

The RBI obviously needs to maintain an adequate buffer for the economy – especially in light of the massive changes that are likely to come about in the next few months in form of REITs and SPVs.

Anuj PuriAnuj Puri, Chairman – ANAROCK Property Consultants

It is still too early to provide hard numbers of 2018 festive season’s property sales numbers as it is yet to conclude. Also, sales numbers are usually collated by the end of the fourth quarter.

However, trends in recent years suggest that the entire fourth quarter of the calendar year is seen as an auspicious time wherein housing sales rise. Considering the q-o-q trends in 2018, sales numbers have increased across the major cities.

For instance, housing sales in Q3 2018 increased by 9% as against the preceding quarter. In comparison to Q3 2017, sales increased by 15% in a year across the top 7 cities.

If we go by these numbers and look at the current scenario, we can expect sales to go up by 9-12% in Q4 2018 (the festive season quarter) as against Q3 2018. However, the ongoing liquidity crisis in Indian real estate could, to come extent, play spoilsport for developers this festive season.

While sales numbers have been increasing q-o-q, there is no significant change noted in the number of inquiries seen during this festive season so far.

 Anuj Puri, Chairman – ANAROCK Property Consultants

  • 4.25 lakh housing units ready-to-move-in in top & cities
  • Only 5% buyers will consider under-construction projects

RERA was supposed to save the day for homebuyers, but that doesn’t seem to have happened – at least not yet. In many states RERA, in its present form, is currently either non-existent or a pale shade of what it was intended to be. It is a fact that RERA has been diluted in some states to favour developers while in a few others it hasn’t even been deployed yet.

RERA’s primary area of focus is under-construction properties. After all, this is the area where buyers had been facing the most challenges on account of project delays, project plan deviations and various other issues.

As things stand now, states like Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have the benefit of operational RERA, but even in these states, the registration numbers are far from motivating.

While Maharashtra comes out on top with over 18,300 projects registered under it, other states where RERA has been implemented are lagging far behind.

Anuj PuriAnuj Puri, Chairman – ANAROCK Property Consultants

  • Housing sales jumped by nearly 8% in the first 3 quarters of 2018
  • NBFC crisis hijacks Indian real estate’s growth story, fallout into 2019
  • General elections will play a role in the sector’s fate in 2019

As we embark on the final lap of this calendar year, it is appropriate to take a quick glimpse of what has happened in the Indian real estate sector during a highly tumultuous 2018.

Given the RBI’s alternating cautious and proactive stance towards managing the overall economy, it remains to be seen if 2018 will bring any further surprises for the real estate sector. If not, we can expect fairly steady sailing until the end of the year.

2018 So Far

  • Residential Real Estate

The year 2018 brought with it a new ray of hope for the residential sector, with both sales and new supply gradually picking up across the top 7 Indian cities – Bengaluru, National Capital Region (NCR),

Anuj PuriAnuj Puri, Chairman – ANAROCK Property Consultants

The festive season is considered auspicious for property purchase and Indians across many states prefer to make informed property buying decisions during this period.

To encash on the increased demand during the festive season, builders, on their part, leave no stone unturned to lure customers with freebies and discounts.

Over the last few years, mounting unsold stock across cities prompted developers to clear their stock and focus more on project completion rather than launch new ones.

Festive Season Offers

This year, launches have increased, and many builders have, in fact, been offering schemes, freebies and discounts all year long to attract home buyers.

Some of the prominent offers include cash discounts, flexi-payment plans, no registration or stamp duty fees, no EMIs till possession, free home appliances or gold coins, etc.

A lot is up for grabs and it is interesting to note the variations in festive discounts. Cash-starved developers are also coming up with some very innovative and attractive schemes.

If we analyse the trends during the year and previous festive season,

Anuj PuriAnuj Puri, Chairman – ANAROCK Property Consultants

Technology has disrupted almost every facet of the real estate business today. However, the creation of the core product is and will remain the most important aspect of this business, and advanced technologies are certainly playing a major role there.

By adopting innovative technologies like automation in construction, innovative designs, sustainability, use of prefabricated material and online marketing, developers can value-engineer their product.

Let’s look at some of the existing and upcoming technology disruptions in real estate construction.

  1. 3D Printing

Among the many new technologies already adopted by the construction sector, 3D Printing (large-scale printing of homes) is anticipated to change the way real estate is built over the next decade.

Though still very nascent, 3D Printing can potentially replace a substantial amount of construction across major segments, including residential, commercial or even retail.

This will be a massive paradigm shift in real estate development. Apart from seriously reducing waste, cost and labour requirements, 3D printing will help builders penetrate the hitherto inaccessible areas of dense urban centres,

Anuj PuriAnuj Puri, Chairman – ANAROCK Property Consultants & HVS ANAROCK

There’s a popular saying in India – Athithi Devo Bhava –meaning the guest is God. Backed by this popular belief and the rising business prospects due to the significant growth of the Indian travel industry, homestays have today become a viable option for both travellers and its owners alike.

For the guest, it’s a home away from home that is nicely tucked into the greens or high up in the hills, in the remotest hinterlands. For the property owner, it’s a lucrative income source.

Numbers suggest that India’s travel market is projected to grow at an annual rate of 11-11.5% and will be worth $48 bn by 2020. Homestays are indisputably one of the means to cater to this growing demand. Rising disposable incomes, focused government measures to boost the travel industry and the growing appetite for travel is accelerating this growth.

In fact, India saw a 15.6% annual increase in foreign tourist arrivals in CY 2017 as against the previous year. Business tourism too is expected to grow three-fold by 2030 from $30 bn in 2015.

It’s not exactly raining investments in the Indian real estate sector right now, but the increasing number of large-size investments give a ray of hope

  • Deals worth over $1.5 billion in H1 2018
  • ‘Housing for All by 2022’ will attract US$ 1.3 trillion into residential by 2025
  • First REIT listings a sure-fire draw for liquidity infusions into office assets

Anuj PuriAnuj Puri, Chairman – ANAROCK Property Consultants

The ancient Chinese curse ‘may you live in interesting times’ certainly has a lot of pertinence to Indian real estate today. These are doubtlessly ‘interesting’ times for the sector, which has transformed significantly over the last decade.

The pace of transformation has been accelerated further by the Central Government’s reformative steps aimed at ushering in ‘Acche Din’ to the realty sector.

Whether or not that has happened to the expected extent is debatable – but certainly, a new regulatory environment is being created with the implementation of several disruptive policies.

The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act,